Art Basel: The bourgeoisie and the rebel

Photo courtesy of Flickr creative commons

The first week of December, Art Basel arrives in Miami Beach like an alligator in a swamp. Waiting. Lurking. Watching. And then it leaps out of the murky water with its mouth agape and tail flexing, showing off its massive power over us mere mortals. And we are left with no choice, but to pay the entrance fee and walk into its mouth, which happens to be located at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

If you think that analogy was confusing, you’ll find more of the same inside.

Now don’t get me wrong. This is one of the most important cultural events that happen in Miami. And we’re lucky to have been doing this dance for 18 years now. But once you’ve walked through the massive halls of both the Convention Center and the tents of Design Miami and have mingled with the who’s who of no one you know, I suggest you steer clear of the traffic and parking woes, and celebrate Basel in lesser-known galleries and museums.

Start the Weekend on Thursday

When was the last time you went to the MOCA? Never you say? Que pena.

Thursday, December 5 from 8pm to 11pm

770 NE 125 Street, North Miami

On Friday Go Late to Work (Or Skip it All Together)

Little Haiti Cultural Complex & The Haitian Cultural Arts Alliance presents ‘The Visual Life of Social Affliction’

Friday, December 6 from 10am to noon

212 NE 59 St., Little Haiti

Saturday Morning Get A Jump On Everyone’s Instagram Feed

Rubell Museum is in a new home and it’s pretty freaking cool.

Saturday, December 7 from 9am to noon

1100 NW 23 St., Miami

Sunday in Sweetwater

Have breakfast in the park…University Park that is. FIU’s Frost Art Museum will take you on a tour to finally explain what all those sculptures are about.

Sunday, December 8 from 9:30am to noon

10975 SW 17 St., Miami

You may need to RSVP to certain events and there may entrance fees or suggested donations. Check on the Art Basel site for all-things related to the event.

Pro-tip: It’s pronounced Art Basel, not Art Basil.

Art Basil.

— This section is specifically for Miamians —

In case you were unable to get to any Art Basel events this week, I’ve assembled an easy-to-follow, four-step plan that will help you get through that uncomfortable Monday morning what-did-you-do-this-weekend conversation with a twenty-something-year-old that will judge you if they were to find out you didn’t really go.


When asked, “Did you go to Basel this weekend?” respond with any of the below non-answers and let the other person take over the conversation.

  • Oh my God, the traffic!
  • My feet are pounding! 
  • So many people!


In the event that you are asked a follow up question like, “Which fairs did you visit?” Respond by choosing any three of the following:

  • Blip
  • Score
  • Plus
  • The One with No Name
  • Dot
  • Scope
  • Taste
  • Splash
  • Satellite

You can also create your own, as long as you stick to single words that could double as names of gay bars.


Update your social media accounts with random photos of “art.” The more random, the more believable. Walk around your house and snap a photo of dust bunnies under the couch, the spoons in your drawer or yogurt in the fridge.


Inevitably, someone will ask you about the Basel parties. “So, did you go to any of the pop-ups?” To make it through this final gauntlet of face-saving, you will need to incorporate all of the above techniques into a 30-second monologue of nothing.

Start with your non-answers:

  • Oh my god the traffic! And the people! It was crazy! Wynwood is so much better than the Beach!

Create new names for gay bars:

  • We ended up at (choose one of the following) Silent Sound, Spray, Cherry Lips

And then drop names of celebrities:

  • You know who I saw? I saw Marina Abramović! I know right? Hold on. It gets better. And she was with Pharrell. I almost died. Let me show you a picture <INSERT BLURRY NIGHT PHOTO>. That’s them in the corner! Crazy right?

Feel free to use this photo or create one of your own:

That's me in the corner next to the Hammer.
Crazy right?!

Follow this plan and you will be transformed from basil rebel to Basel bourgeoisie.

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